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Plastic bags and wrapping recycling trial to start in Knebworth

01 November 2023
Plastic bags and wrapping

Around 2,200 households in Knebworth are part of a pilot project for collecting and recycling plastic bags and wrapping from the kerbside, also known as flexible plastic packaging or soft plastics.

North Herts Council has been chosen to take part in a fully-funded project to test the collection of plastic bags and wrapping as part of our current fortnightly recycling collections. Plastics such as plastic bags, confectionery wrappers, crisp packets, foil lined packaging, plastic film and bubble wrap (not pet food pouches) will be collected by our contractors Urbaser in special bags which will be sent to the selected households in Knebworth. Participating households have also received full details of the scheme, including what can be collected and how bags should be presented on their usual collection day.

Plastic bags and wrapping are a considerable challenge as they represented 22% of all UK consumer plastic packaging in 2020, but only 8% was recycled. At present, the only way to recycle plastic bags and wrapping is at supermarket collection points. The trial is part of a larger £2.9m Flexible Plastic Fund (FPF) ‘FlexCollect’ project, which involves the charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and nine local authorities across England, and aims to inform government and industry on how plastic bags and wrapping should be added to existing household collection services. Most of the £2.9m fund is provided by the FPF, the government Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and UK Research and the Innovation Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge Fund.

Cllr Amy Allen, Executive Member for Recycling & Waste, said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting pilot to extend what we collect from the kerbside. Although plastic bags and wrapping don’t weigh that much, they can take up lots of space in people’s bins and it’s such a shame for them not to be recycled. We have done our own pilot within the office, with the collection of plastic bags and wrapping for three weeks making a dramatic impact on what’s left in a non-recyclable (purple) bin. All being well with this initial trial, we hope to expand to more properties next year, and eventually the whole district.”

Cllr Tom Tyson, Deputy Executive Member for Recycling & Waste, added: “I have been taking my soft plastics to the collection point at our local supermarket since the beginning of the year and know how much even a small household can generate. Kerbside collection of this type of waste will be a positive move in the battle against landfill, and this trial will help us identify the best way forward.”

Please do not put plastic bags and wrapping in your recycling (grey) bin – this will be classed as contamination and your bin will not be emptied. There are special separate collection bags for those on the trial. Anyone else can take their flexible/soft plastics to a local supermarket collection point.   

More information: Plastic Bags and Wrapping Recycling Local Collections | Recycle Now

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